The pursuit of Happš²ness: What they didn’t tell you in the movie.

Will Smith shines in inspirational classic


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Pursuit of Happyness

It’s as real as it gets, based on the true story of a stockbroker (Chris Gardner) showing the pains of struggling in a sinking life and yet trying to push through the surface for even a gasp of hope. Played by Will Smith and his biological son Christopher, this would not be the only time the duo would be appearing side by side in a movie as later seen in the sci-fi thriller After Earth.

Honestly it is a little cheesy and full of humor but that is due to the resilient persona of Chris Gardner in-spite of all the troubles, a little similar to Mark Watney in The Martian, except this time it’s not on the Red planet but on the cold streets of America, Fighting through hunger, an impatient wife, frustration, failure and wanting a better life for his child. Determined, to become a stock broker Chris Gardner applies for a 1 in 20 chance internship at a company which at the end of the program would select a member to join the brokerage team.

Regarding the famous ‘Y’ in ‘happyness as seen in the movie, Chris Gardner also spelled it that way. As he quoted to a radio station.

“There was a place once in Oakland [Ca] near the MacArthur Park station that became very, very, very important to my son and I at the most challenging stage of our journey, and they spelled happyness with a ‘y’ and that’s why it’s spelled that way… It’s personal [the spelling]. It’s definitely personal. …That particular place was a day-care center, and at this point in my life just getting my son into a day-care center was a major, major, major challenge and I had to learn about the food chain of day-care in our country.

Chris Gardner to KPFA 94.1 FM

Also though Jaden Smith was five years old in the movie, Chris Gardner’s son was actually two years old in real life.

Chris Gardner as a Boy, although not portrayed in the movie. He also had a very difficult life as a child.

Chris Gardner wanted a career in medicine and worked in the west coast with a heart surgeon named Dr. Robert Ellis. He actually had an eureka moment when he discovered, following his research with the doctor, the concentration of potassium that best preserved the phosphates in the heart.

Chris Gardner was a really competitive young man and though seen in the movie, he was not actually hit by a car in real life, it was all a plot to keep the interest of the viewers.

Did he and his son actually sleep on a subway station bathroom floor?

This is one of the most moving scenes in the movie, where Chris Gardner and his son gets kicked out of thier home and they end up sleeping in a subway bathroom and someone eventually comes knocking for business.

The bathroom in real life

About his Wife

Linda, played by actress Thandie Newton in the movie,clearly we are shown that she is a woman who really wants more out of life and is really a combination of two women in the life of Chris Gardner. The first, is Sherry Dyson, who he married on June 18, 1977 in a park near Sherry’s parents home. She was a good friend who Chris always called on the phone, and who would come over for a visit in San Francisco. Growing up in a wealthier background, Sherry was familiar writer Robert Alexander and she dined and had fancy dinners and luncheons. At these met ups Chris Gardner met, Barry “Shabaka” Henley, Danny Glover, and Samuel L. Jackson. They were not famous as of the time.

Sherry and Chris eventually due to certain issues stopped trying to communicate with each other. They tried to have a child, but unfortunately Sherry miscarried during her first trimester. The fire left their marriage and he began to have sexual fantasies of other women. He eventually cheated on her.

The Hidden Story

Following this affair, Chris got involved with a woman named Jackie who lived at the end of the street. Chris also went back east to New York City to meet Jackie’s relatives and to spend time with her family. Getting back to San Francisco and discovering that Jackie was pregnant with his son, Chris told Sherry that he was leaving her. Sherry moved to Oakland and it took nine long years for the two of them to become legally divorced. Chris subsequently moved in with Jackie, a decision that he admits was mostly about sexual relations.

pursuit of

But movie wise….

The Pursuit of Happiness is an inspiring movie that praises tenacity and good old faith in believing things would change, no matter how dire, if we push on.

Watch the Trailer


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The pursuit of Happš²ness: What they didn’t tell you in the movie.

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